Na Na Niiiiii! GuilFest or should that be Retrofest???

GuilFest 2010 Review

published: Wed 21st Jul 2010


Friday 16th to Sunday 18th July 2010
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£100 adult weekend, or £110 with camping; Children (12-16) £50 weekend, £60 with camping
last updated: Thu 8th Jul 2010

Up with the sun and after the return of two of our party from the local Lido utilising the shower facilities it was in and onwards to sample the delights of the 'national phenomenon' of Rock Choir. It felt like we had stepped into an episode of Glee set at a music festival! Quite surreal but very good voices and songs from the massive ensemble of all ages.

around the festival site (01)
The early afternoon was spent checking out the many stalls that were to be found all over the site. Having got into the stride of the festival now (it was slightly difficult to fathom at first), it can safely be said that GuilFest is a wonderful blend of the types of one day events you get on Clapham Common with festivals such as Beautiful Days. A lovely mix of pretty market stalls selling soaps, fairy trinkets and ever lasting daisy chains as well as local ventures offering painted caricatures on T-shirts alongside the highly corporate Pimms Bus and the new Grand Marnier Summer Experience (asking for trouble with their free samples!) and the River Cottage Field Kitchen. Somehow all of this worked brilliantly.

In addition was the Backline Live Acoustic Stage, Ceroc Dance Tent, UNISON zone, Elemis Spa Bus, 70's Disco and all manner of other family friendly places to check out and get involved in.

The piece de resistance of eyebrow raising at random corporate festival stall has to go to TherapySucks. A stall where you pay to place your feet into a tank of water containing hundreds of little fish nibbling all the manky dead skin off your dirty feet and toes! I've seen it all now! The queues were enormous which meant at times you would walk by to be met by the sign 'The Fish are on a break'.

Time to return to the main stage to catch some of Naree. The lead singer had an amazing voice – a mix of Pink and Kelly Clarkson and the music was an eclectic mix of indie, classical and even some Asian rock.

around the festival site (02)
With time to kill, we took the opportunity to check out the KidZone which had a loose policy of 'you must have a child with you' but we were allowed in. What a hive of activity! In such a small area there was squeezed in - swing boats, a gyroscope, crazy bikes, various craft activities including build an insect home and the biggest and best being the tent where the robot costumes for the Children's Parade on Sunday were being constructed (mostly by very eager daddies!)

We got our timings wrong and unfortunately missed most of 'Twilight – the Musical' in the Theatre Tent performed by kids from Man in the Moon youth theatre. A surreal mix of slow motion action and music from Chess!

And then... oh lord... why did we do it?... Ali Campbell's UB40. He was over an hour late and we still subjected ourselves to the pain of this excruciating performance. I couldn't even look at the man but somehow put up with the wailing until Red Red Wine caused an early exit/flee! The late arrival messed up the timings for the rest of the day but the appearance of the sun yellow zoot suit of a certain Kid Creole and his (certainly not the original but very fine) Coconuts brought a well deserved uplifting dose of silliness and tunes.

Alvin Stardust
Just Jack was... just Jack so I popped off to catch a bit of Mungo Jerry in order to hear the somewhat clichéd but perfect rendition of 'In the Summertime' in the blazing sun at the Good Time Guide Stage. Alvin Stardust followed and coo-coo-cachooed in the best way he could looking like a mix between David Dickinson in Elvis leathers! But over on the Main Stage was something far more important to witness...

Na na niiiii! A huge audience of all ages (a little younger somewhat at the front than the back obviously) had gathered for N-Dubz. Tune after tune, Dappy, Tulisa and the other one romping about on beds having pillow fights acting out the popular songs, 3 or 4 costume changes in an hour long set and to be honest, one of THE best performances and highlights of the festival.

Needless to say the mass bundle by over half of the audience down to Tinie Tempah at The Funky End after N-Dubz ended ensued in a queueing system to get into the field but once inside the tent, teenage sweatbox number 2 of the weekend for me was just as enjoyable as the first. Everyone is so happy and having a great time to the filthy dubstep loved by all.

But having to consider age over beauty, I had to return to my musical roots and get back to the Main Stage to see the band that are my first musical memory. The Human League. A now virtually teenager free field is holding its hands in the air and singing along to tune after tune from Dare and all the other hits. Ignoring the out of tune wailing accompaniment from Joanne (the dark haired one of the backing singers), it's a great show topped off by the inevitable 'Don't You Want me Baby' and ended with '80s throwback 'Electric Dreams'. I am loving this retro fest.
review by: Lucy Robinson

photos by: Sarah Thomas

Friday 16th to Sunday 18th July 2010
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£100 adult weekend, or £110 with camping; Children (12-16) £50 weekend, £60 with camping
last updated: Thu 8th Jul 2010

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